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NL Championship Series

Dan-cin' in the sweep: Mets waltz into World Series!

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The spray of champagne is becoming routine. Once so inexperienced with this sort of thing that their younger players approached Michael Cuddyer and Juan Uribe in Cincinnati last month, asking how to celebrate, the Mets have since made it rote. They chased each other around their clubhouse following their 8-3 win over the Cubs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field, capping the first four-game sweep of a postseason series in franchise history. They hugged and cracked open celebratory drinks and hugged some more after winning their fifth NL pennant and reaching their first World Series since 2000.

"The World Series," third baseman David Wright kept saying, over and over again. "The World Series."

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CHICAGO -- The spray of champagne is becoming routine. Once so inexperienced with this sort of thing that their younger players approached Michael Cuddyer and Juan Uribe in Cincinnati last month, asking how to celebrate, the Mets have since made it rote. They chased each other around their clubhouse following their 8-3 win over the Cubs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday at Wrigley Field, capping the first four-game sweep of a postseason series in franchise history. They hugged and cracked open celebratory drinks and hugged some more after winning their fifth NL pennant and reaching their first World Series since 2000.

"The World Series," third baseman David Wright kept saying, over and over again. "The World Series."

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"Say that one more time, Dave," hitting coach Kevin Long yelled from nearby.

Video: Relive the Mets' amazing run to the 2015 Fall Classic

"The World Series!" Wright complied.

Shop for Mets NL champs gear

The Mets' final act in reaching this dream was a nine-inning demonstration of their might at Wrigley Field. Lucas Duda hit a three-run home run off Jason Hammel in the first inning and a two-run double off Travis Wood in the second, giving the Mets a 6-0 lead that they never came close to relinquishing. Steven Matz allowed one run into the fifth, Bartolo Colon bridged the middle innings and Jeurys Familia finished off the Cubs. Then the Mets poured out of their dugout to celebrate the franchise's first NL pennant in 15 years. Up next for New York is the winner of the American League Championship Series between the Blue Jays and Royals, who lead the series 3-2.

"You get so excited when you're able to come together and accomplish something like this," NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy said.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Murphy receives NLCS MVP award

This NLCS pitted two teams seemingly ahead of schedule against one another. The Cubs possessed gobs of young hitters, but weren't sure how quickly they could gel. The Mets boasted an embarrassment of pitching, from Matz to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey, but couldn't be certain how their offense would score.

Bauman: Strong arms can lift Mets higher

In the end, pitching won. Hammel recorded just four outs in Game 4, giving up four runs on consecutive homers from Duda and Travis d'Arnaud. The Cubs stranded four men on base in the fourth and fifth innings against Matz and Colon, three of them in scoring position. And while the 42,227 crammed into Wrigley Field for the last time this season never lost heart, chanting and clapping and screaming until the end, the end did eventually come for the Cubs. They never led in the series.

Video: Must C Clinch: Mets punch tickets to World Series

"They did not let us up for air at any point," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Their domination of the early part of the game and their pitching was impressive. They played well. They didn't make mistakes. So it's not so much to be disappointed in our performance. They were just that good for four days, man. I've got to give them credit."

Cubs tip their caps to NL champion Mets

Video: NLCS Gm4: Maddon reflects on the Cubs' 2015 season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back: Duda and d'Arnaud almost immediately quieted a sold-out Wrigley Field crowd when they bashed consecutive homers off Hammel in the first inning. That gave Matz a four-run lead before he ever took the mound. Duda wasn't finished, hitting a two-run double off Wood the next inning. More >

"I've been telling everybody that asked, it's pretty surreal to be in this position," Duda said. "I'm speechless. It's something that you dream about, and it's finally coming true. It's pretty special."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Duda, d'Arnaud go back-to-back in the 1st

Leadoff man: Jorge Soler doubled to lead off the fourth, the first Cubs hit leading off an inning in the series. Kris Bryant then walked and Anthony Rizzo singled to load the bases, but third baseman Wright made a perfectly timed leap to catch Starlin Castro's liner. The Cubs did tally on Kyle Schwarber's groundout to first, but shortstop Wilmer Flores grabbed Javier Baez's foul ball near the Chicago bullpen to end the inning.
More >

"They made the plays -- like my first [at-bat] of the game, [Duda] dives for the ball, and I'm like, 'OK,'" Dexter Fowler said. "All you can do is hit balls and put it in play and see where it goes."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Flores makes catch near bullpen chair

Babe Murphy: Not to be outdone, Murphy slugged a home run in a Major League-record sixth consecutive postseason game when he took Fernando Rodney deep in the eighth. Aside from giving the Mets an 8-1 lead, Murphy's shot passed Carlos Beltran's record of five straight games with a homer for the 2004 Astros. The Mets' all-time leader in postseason homers despite playing just nine such games for them, Murphy finished 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. More >

"Daniel Murphy, I've not seen anything like this, I don't think ever," Maddon said. "I saw [Barry] Bonds in the 2002 World Series where you did not want to throw a baseball to him. Right now, it's just incredible, line drive to left, homer to right or homer to center. He looks like he's going to hit the ball hard on every pitch. It's unusual to see a guy that locked in and that locked in at this particular moment."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Statcast™ looks at Murphy's record-breaker

Teachable moment: The Cubs had two on and two outs in the fifth to chase Matz. That pitted Colon against the rookie Bryant. The Mets' pitcher prevailed, getting Bryant swinging at strike three. Colon barely topped 90 mph with his fastball in the six-pitch at-bat, but located perfectly. Bryant did get some revenge in the eighth when he hit a two-run homer off Tyler Clippard. Bryant finished the postseason with a double, a triple, two homers and five RBIs in nine games.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Colon strikes out Bryant, escapes jam

QUOTABLE
"I've been in baseball for 45 years. I've never met more passion, and fans that want to win more, who love their team more than Mets fans. This is for them. This is for all the hard work, for all the bad years, all the tough years. They've hung in there. And this is for them. We're going to bring the World Series to Citi Field." -- Mets manager Terry Collins

Video: NLCS Gm4: Collins NLCS win, advancing to World Series

"I was saying I want them to understand and embrace all that they have done well this year. Just don't look at these last couple games and focus on that at all. See how far we've come within a very short period of time, understand the personal growth and the team growth that occurred, and also understand we go to Spring Training next year, we can really just jump right on it. We know what we want to do and how we want to do it. I could not be more thrilled with the group." -- Maddon, on his message to the players after the game

OOPS
With two outs in the Mets' third, Wood was ahead, 1-1, against Matz, and threw a strike to veteran catcher David Ross. Ross calmly trotted to the dugout, and rolled the ball to a fan. But the count was 1-2, and when Ross realized his mistake, he asked for the ball back from the fan, got it and threw it to Wood. Matz did eventually strike out, and as Ross exited, he tossed the ball into the seats. More >

Video: NLCS Gm4: Ross forgets the count, runs off field

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon picked up the win in relief, his first in the postseason since the 2001 AL Division Series when he pitched for the Indians. It was the longest gap between postseason victories for any pitcher in history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Colon puts out fire, earns win in clincher

This is the first time the Cubs have been swept in a best-of-seven postseason series since the 1938 World Series, when they lost in four games to the Yankees. The Mets had never swept a best-of-seven series. Their previous sweeps in the 1969 NLCS and 2006 NLDS were both best-of-five series.

FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes exited after two innings due to left shoulder soreness, but he said he fully plans to be ready in time for Game 1 of the World Series. "If not," Cespedes added, "I'll chop it off and put a new one on." More >

Video: NLCS Gm4: Collins provides update on Cespedes' injury

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: The Mets will sleep in Thursday, enjoy some family time, whatever they please. By sweeping the Cubs, they earned themselves a few days of rest and light workouts before flying either to Kansas City or Toronto for a final World Series tune-up on Monday. Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday on FOX in the AL winner's ballpark.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Murphy hits record homer, wins NLCS MVP

Mets second baseman first player to go deep in six consecutive postseason games
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Long after the game was over, a couple thousand fans stood cheering behind the Mets' dugout at Wrigley Field and broke into the standard "MVP, MVP," chant as Daniel Murphy rejoined the group celebrating on the field.

Murphy had just hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of his club's 8-3 victory in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, punctuating the sweep of the Cubs and the fifth NL pennant in franchise history.

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CHICAGO -- Long after the game was over, a couple thousand fans stood cheering behind the Mets' dugout at Wrigley Field and broke into the standard "MVP, MVP," chant as Daniel Murphy rejoined the group celebrating on the field.

Murphy had just hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of his club's 8-3 victory in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, punctuating the sweep of the Cubs and the fifth NL pennant in franchise history.

View Full Game Coverage

Shop for Mets World Series gear

In a "believe it or not" moment, it was Murphy's seventh home run of this postseason and sixth in successive games, breaking a record that was set by Carlos Beltran when he played for the Astros in 2004.

:: NLCS: Cubs vs. Mets -- Results ::

The streak spans the last two games of New York's five-game victory over the Dodgers in the NL Division Series and all four games of their just-concluded NLCS. The World Series begins on Tuesday night in either Toronto or Kansas City (on FOX), and even Murphy doesn't know what's coming next.

Murphy, heretofore a .288 lifetime hitter who was moved to second base just to get his bat in the lineup, was the obvious choice as the series' MVP.

"Murphy? Murphy was locked in, man. Murphy was unpitchable," said Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, who watched much of the left-handed hitter's performance from behind the plate. "Pretty much, he's the best hitter in the game in October."

No kidding. Murphy was 4-for-5 in Game 4 and batted .529 (9-for-17) in the series with a double, four homers, six RBIs and six runs scored. His slugging percentage for the four games was a gaudy 1.294. Murphy had a .424 lifetime slugging percentage and a .755 OPS coming into the postseason.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Murphy receives NLCS MVP award

It was no wonder, as he sat there with the glass and gold MVP trophy on the table in front of him, there was no way to erase the smile off his bearded face.

"That was a lot of fun," Murphy said. "I think the group of guys in [the clubhouse} makes it that much more fun when each guy cares for the guy next to him. You get so excited when you're able to come together and accomplish something like this.

Video: Murphy breaks Beltran's postseason home-run record

"We know there are still some more wins we want to get our hands on, so we're going to enjoy this right now, and when you see everybody get a piece of it, it makes it very special."

Murphy may be the most unlikely character in baseball history to have accomplished such a stunning feat, considering that he had 14 homers this past regular season and only 62 in 3,619 plate appearances over seven seasons.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Murphy tallies four hits, another homer

Murphy's seven homers gave him the Mets' record over Mike Piazza, who took the 1999-2000 postseasons to hit five. Piazza had 427 homers -- with 394 hit as a catcher, the most ever at that position. Beltran has 392 and is still going with the Yankees.

Again on Wednesday night, Murphy claimed to be baffled by the sudden power outburst for a guy who didn't have much.

Video: NLCS Gm4: Murphy discusses winning NLCS MVP honors

"I can't explain it," he said. "It's just such a blessing to be able to contribute to what we've been able to do. I really can't explain it. It's just a complete blessing, and that's the only way I can describe it. Almost every one of the homers has helped win a ballgame. I'm excited to be able to do something to help us, but I can't explain it."

Cut4: Murphy homers for a record sixth consecutive game

Actually, there's a very logical explanation for it, and Bob Geren, the team's bench coach, offered some keen insight. Murphy has spent long hours in the batting cage with hitting coach Kevin Long. The plate is broken down by numbered quadrants, and Long has Murphy hit to each one of those quadrants, one through seven.

Video: Murphy rakes in NLCS to lead Mets and earn MVP honors

"He's such a tough hitter. He has such good hand-eye coordination. He's one of the toughest guys in the league to strike out," said Geren, noting that Murphy whiffed only 38 times this past season in 538 plate appearances. "He's been so consistent, and when he gets that hot, it's just amazing."

Video: NLCS Gm4: Murphy on torrid pace in the playoffs

There's also a sequence of colored balls and objects, which, when thrown to a hitter, helps increase his acuity.

"It's visual training," Geren said. "They work on everything."

That might explain why, when Murphy was looking for a series of changeups from Cubs reliever Fernando Rodney on Wednesday night, he was able to instantly adjust to a fastball and hit it out to dead center field.

Video: Murphy discusses his historic postseason run

"He threw two heaters, and the second one exploded on me," Murphy said. "So now I don't know what to look for. I might as well stay on the changeup because I don't have the fastball measured. And he threw another heater and I just swung. I should have taken it.

"And I hit it, I said, 'Oh, my goodness.' When Dexter [Fowler] went after it, I thought he was going to catch it. But then the netting caught it. I don't know. I can't explain it."

Video: Must C Classic: Murphy homers in sixth straight game

At this point, Murphy doesn't have to explain it. As Montero said, he's locked in. And there's a World Series around the corner to see if he can remain in that stratosphere.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

New York Mets, Daniel Murphy

For Crew, Game 7 not an end but a beginning

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- From Orlando magic on Opening Day to "Let's cry" on the mound in Colorado to "We Believe In Jesús" and learning that teenage tweets last forever but folks can forgive. From Brent Suter off Corey Kluber to Brandon Woodruff off Clayton Kershaw. From "too many outfielders" and "too few starting pitchers" to Lorenzo Cain's leaping catches, Christian Yelich looking like an MVP Award winner and late-inning lights-out relief. Some surprise first-inning lights-out relief, too.

There were George Webb hamburgers washed down by a trio of champagne celebrations. Bob Uecker, 84 years young, danced in the middle of them all. He wished there had been two more.

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MILWAUKEE -- From Orlando magic on Opening Day to "Let's cry" on the mound in Colorado to "We Believe In Jesús" and learning that teenage tweets last forever but folks can forgive. From Brent Suter off Corey Kluber to Brandon Woodruff off Clayton Kershaw. From "too many outfielders" and "too few starting pitchers" to Lorenzo Cain's leaping catches, Christian Yelich looking like an MVP Award winner and late-inning lights-out relief. Some surprise first-inning lights-out relief, too.

There were George Webb hamburgers washed down by a trio of champagne celebrations. Bob Uecker, 84 years young, danced in the middle of them all. He wished there had been two more.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

One of the most memorable of the 50 seasons in franchise history ended short of the goal on Saturday with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

For the Dodgers, it's on to the World Series. For the Brewers, it's wait 'til next year.

They think they will be pretty good again next year.

"The feeling here was really different in 2011," said owner Mark Attanasio, referring to Milwaukee's last team to make it this far, "because we sort of knew it was the end of the road. Prince [Fielder] was going to be a free agent. [Zack] Greinke was going to be gone the next year, [Shaun] Marcum was gone. There was a lot of sadness, because that group of men was being disbanded. This group of guys, it's just the beginning. It's the early innings for this group.

"So it feels different. I can report that from an owner's standpoint, losing a Game 7 is harder emotionally than losing a Game 6, because you can actually see it and taste it. But there's a lot of reason to be hopeful about this group."

As Attanasio spoke, the room had begun to clear of cameras, and the ambient noise picked up. Twenty-two-year-old Freddy Peralta came by for a hug, then resurgent reliever Corey Knebel. Yelich's tears started to dry. There was laughter in the corner where Cain was holding court.

"You didn't hear any of this in '11," Attanasio said. "Guys are already starting to pick up their spirits a little bit. This group knows it will be together."

Video: MLB Tonight discusses Miley's Game 6 start

There will be exceptions, of course. There always are. Curtis Granderson, Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley are free agents, with Miley the most notable after he made 16 regular-season starts with a 2.57 ERA, then pitched four more times in the postseason, including a memorable one-batter decoy start in Game 5 of the NLCS. A new pitcher thanks to that cutter, he will try to cash in via free agency.

Mike Moustakas and Joakim Soria have mutual options, and Jeremy Jeffress and Jordan Lyles have club options that need addressing. Only Jeffress is sure to be back.

And the Brewers have a slew of arbitration-eligible players, including some intriguing cases coming off seasons complicated by injuries or performance, including pitchers Zach Davies, Knebel and Jimmy Nelson; catcher Stephen Vogt; infielder Jonathan Schoop; and outfielder Domingo Santana. Infielder Travis Shaw is eligible for the first time and due a huge raise, but he's not going anywhere.

Video: NCLS Gm7: Shaw doubles as Puig mistimes jump in 4th

Also not going anywhere: Cain and Yelich, who came to Milwaukee last Jan. 26, Cain via free agency and Yelich via trade, with five years of control apiece. Fellow All-Star Jesus Aguilar has another minimum-salary season ahead before he qualifies for arbitration. And the trio at back end of the bullpen -- Knebel, Jeffress and Josh Hader -- should all be back.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Hader fans 4 over 3 scoreless relief frames

What could make next season different in Attanasio's mind is the starting pitching. In addition to steady starter Jhoulys Chacin, the Brewers will choose from a field that includes Chase Anderson and Davies, Nelson coming off shoulder surgery and young arms Peralta, Corbin Burnes and Woodruff, each of whom took huge strides while coming out of the bullpen in October.

Video: MLB Tonight: Woodruff on his home run, Game 7

Woodruff logged a 2.19 ERA in 12 1/3 postseason innings and homered off Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLCS. Burnes pitched nine innings over six postseason games, with a 2.00 ERA. Peralta dealt three scoreless innings in relief of an injured Gonzalez in Game 4.

"You guys saw glimpses of what this team has to offer in the future with the young studs they have coming up," said Moustakas. "This team is going to be in a good spot next year and the next couple of years."

"A lot of special things happened this season. A lot of guys showed up," Cain said. "Woodruff is one guy who stood out to me this postseason. He went up and down during the regular season, and he stepped up big-time in the postseason. I expect him to be on the roster and ready to go next year, for sure. There's a lot of guys I expect big things from."

The Brewers have less than four months to ponder it. Milwaukee will report to renovated Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix during the second week of February.

"Before the future was just that [day's] game," said Jeffress. "Now we can look to the future and we're excited about it. We have a new complex in Arizona that we're excited for, and we're going to go there and re-evaluate some things and come back with the same type of guys that you saw this season. There's going to be a lot of fighting for jobs next year, and that's what we want."

Said Yelich: "The great thing about this sport is there's always hope. You always get ready for the next season. Use what we did this year and build on it in Spring Training. Use this feeling we're all feeling right now as fuel and motivation to get back and take that next step."

Will the Brewers be back? There are no guarantees, as Ryan Braun, the lone holdover from the 2011 NLCS entry, knows. Despite Fielder's pending departure, that club expressed optimism in a quiet clubhouse, too.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Braun on Brewers' season after NLCS exit

"You never know how things will play out with the team or what key free agents will be back," said Braun. "But so much of our success came from young guys who we control for a number of years moving forward. There's a lot of reasons for hope and optimism.

"At the same time, we were one win away from the World Series. We had an opportunity to play that game at home. We all know, no matter how good you are, those opportunities don't come around every year. It's disappointing today."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers

'Battle tested' Dodgers ready for Red Sox

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers won't have the home-field advantage in the World Series as they did last year, but they do have an advantage over last year's World Series appearance.

"It feels we're a little more battle tested this year. Last year was more of a joyride," general manager Farhan Zaidi said while being showered with expensive alcoholic beverages during the clubhouse celebration after Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Brewers clinched a second consecutive National League pennant.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers won't have the home-field advantage in the World Series as they did last year, but they do have an advantage over last year's World Series appearance.

"It feels we're a little more battle tested this year. Last year was more of a joyride," general manager Farhan Zaidi said while being showered with expensive alcoholic beverages during the clubhouse celebration after Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Brewers clinched a second consecutive National League pennant.

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:: World Series schedule and results ::

"We haven't taken anything for granted this year. We understood how hard it was, but also knew what it took to get here."

After winning 104 games in the regular season and cruising through the first two rounds of the postseason, the Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in last year's World Series Game 7.

Zaidi said that experience better prepared his club for the NL Championship Series clincher and will better prepare it for the best-of-seven World Series against the Red Sox, whom the Dodgers haven't faced in the Fall Classic since 1916, won by Boston.

"The crowds, the media attention, everything that goes with being in the World Series, it will all be familiar to us this time in the same way as being on the LCS stage for the first time in '16 and winning at that stage last year," said Zaidi. "We played a very worthy opponent last year and the Red Sox are terrific, too. It's going to be just as tough and we'll be prepared."

Zaidi said winning the World Series this year is more about unfinished business than redemption for last year's missed opportunity.

"It's just about trying to win it all," he said. "Certainly last year, there were long nights in the offseason thinking about how close we got. We feel really fortunate to have an opportunity to go at it again. We earned it. It wasn't handed to us."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Roberts gives victory speech in clubhouse

Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said the Red Sox pose a new set of challenges.

"It's a really good team. It's a really tough lineup," he said. "It's probably the best defensive outfield I've ever seen. Every time I go to look at them, I had to go back to focusing on the Brewers. That's a really good team. They didn't allow us to really look beyond them. I know Boston is really good. I know their pitching is really good. I know it's a deep, well rounded team. We'll take two days to cram and do everything we can to be ready to play them."

Justin Turner said the subtle benefits of having played in the World Series so recently shouldn't be underestimated.

"I just think we have a lot of experience, guys that have been there and done it," said Turner, "and that helps you control your emotions, control your anxiety, slow your heart beat down."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rookie Buehler delivers with 7 K's in NLCS G7

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Friedman heard the chatter. Game 7. On the road. A rookie called upon to extend the season. How would Walker Buehler respond?

The Dodgers' president of baseball operations did not worry. The bigger gamble came years earlier, when Friedman, then in his first year running Los Angeles' front office, made Buehler his first Draft pick. Buehler required Tommy John surgery at the time. That was known. No matter. His upside was too great, despite the risk.

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MILWAUKEE -- Andrew Friedman heard the chatter. Game 7. On the road. A rookie called upon to extend the season. How would Walker Buehler respond?

The Dodgers' president of baseball operations did not worry. The bigger gamble came years earlier, when Friedman, then in his first year running Los Angeles' front office, made Buehler his first Draft pick. Buehler required Tommy John surgery at the time. That was known. No matter. His upside was too great, despite the risk.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

"I felt like it was validated long ago," Friedman said.

Now, though, Friedman and the Dodgers have a signature performance to point to. That much is clear after they punched a ticket to their second straight World Series on Saturday night, with Buehler playing a big role in their 5-1 win over the Brewers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park.

The moment was not too big for the 24-year-old righty, who held Milwaukee to a Christian Yelich solo homer in 4 2/3 innings.

"There is a lot of talent on this team and it was my turn to take the ball," Buehler said. "We're deep, one to 25. Go out and try to do as well as you can for as long as you can."

Flashing the high-octane arsenal that propelled him into the NL Rookie of the Year Award conversation this year, Buehler delivered against the Brewers. His fastball flirted with triple digits. Buehler struck out seven, walked none, and worked himself out of jams in the second and fourth before giving way to L.A.'s bullpen, which blanked Milwaukee the rest of the way. It was by far his best performance this October; Buehler allowed nine runs over his first two starts of the postseason.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Buehler retires pinch-hitting Schoop in 2nd

"He has supreme confidence. He is as confident, and I may even use the word 'cocky,' as any young player I've been around. It serves him really well," Friedman said. "There was a lot of talk coming into this game. 'How would Walker handle a Game 7? How would he handle a hostile environment?' Those of us who know him well were not concerned at all."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Walker Buehler

Machado has last laugh at Miller with 1st WS

Dodgers star after G7 win: 'They're always going to boo the best'
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Manny Machado loved every second of this.

The supremely talented shortstop-turned-villain in the National League Championship Series capped his often-controversial series with the last laugh in a 5-1 victory over the Brewers in Game 7 on Saturday night at Miller Park. Machado celebrated his first trip to the World Series in the visitors' clubhouse, spraying and drinking champagne with his Dodgers teammates and relishing the fact that he sent more than 40,000 Brewers fans home unhappy.

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MILWAUKEE -- Manny Machado loved every second of this.

The supremely talented shortstop-turned-villain in the National League Championship Series capped his often-controversial series with the last laugh in a 5-1 victory over the Brewers in Game 7 on Saturday night at Miller Park. Machado celebrated his first trip to the World Series in the visitors' clubhouse, spraying and drinking champagne with his Dodgers teammates and relishing the fact that he sent more than 40,000 Brewers fans home unhappy.

View Full Game Coverage

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

"They're always going to boo the best," Machado said.

Machado set the mood and the table in the series clincher. He stepped into the batter's box in the second inning to a chorus of boos from Brewers fans, who were feeling fine with Milwaukee holding a 1-0 lead. Machado became public enemy No. 1 when he got tangled up with Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar on a controversial play at first base in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium. Words were exchanged. Benches and bullpens cleared. Milwaukee right fielder Christian Yelich afterward called Machado a "dirty player."

Machado couldn't have cared less.

Dress for Fall Classic: Get Dodgers NL champs gear

Brewers fans jeered Machado throughout Game 6. They chanted "Manny sucks!" Machado went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the 7-2 loss.

Machado lived up to his villain status and stepped up his game in Game 7. He worked a 3-2 count against Milwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in the second inning, when he unexpectedly bunted a slider up the third-base line for a single.

Machado, who famously answered criticism about not hustling in Game 2 by saying he will never be "Johnny Hustle," reached a sprint speed of 29.3 feet per second. It was Machado's fastest tracked sprint speed of the season.

It appears Machado, who averaged 26.3 feet per second. during the regular season, runs well when he chooses.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Statcast™ measures Machado's speed on bunt

But why bunt there, Manny? It was the first 3-2 bunt single since Norichika Aoki had one for the Royals on May 29, 2014.

"I can't say what I really want to say," Machado said.

Machado was upset that Chacin quick pitched him.

"I know it was a little [gutsy], but anything to win," Machado said. "It came out perfectly because Belli [Cody Bellinger] came up next and hit that big, big homer to put us up top."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Dodgers on advancing to the World Series

Machado's unexpected bunt was a moment to savor, but then he sparked further controversy. After he reached first base, he grabbed himself a few times as he faced Brewers fans in the stands. Asked if he made an untoward gesture toward them, Machado sidestepped.

"Honestly, I have no idea," Machado said. "All I heard was, 'Manny sucks.'"

So no gestures to the crowd?

"No," Machado said. "I just hear what they say. I just enjoy it, take it all in, you know?"

Asked if he likes being a villain, Machado sidestepped again.

"I play baseball, I play baseball," he said. "We won today. I love it. There's no better feeling than celebrating."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Roberts gives victory speech in clubhouse

But come on, Manny? Didn't it feel great to drop down a bunt to spark a rally and win Game 7, especially after the boos and his performance in Game 6?

Machado smiled and pointed to the golden champagne bottle in his hands.

"I play for this," he said.

Machado then scanned over the crowd of reporters in front of him.

"Where's the trophy at?" he said. "Where's the trophy at? That's all I play for, baby. That's all I play for."

Machado tries for a bigger trophy beginning Tuesday against the Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series.

Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig

Crew's thrilling run ends in heartbreak in G7

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' World Series hopes turned on two line drives.

One was caught. One was not.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' World Series hopes turned on two line drives.

One was caught. One was not.

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And because of those outcomes -- a Christian Yelich drive that found Chris Taylor's glove at the warning track in the fifth inning before a laser beam of a three-run home run for Yasiel Puig in the sixth -- a surprising season that carried a Milwaukee team two years removed from rebuilding to within one victory of the Fall Classic came to a close. The 2018 Brewers went down with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on Saturday night.

Just like that, it was the end. The Brewers set a franchise record with 102 total wins. That included a 12-game spree that stretched into October and covered regular season Game 163 at Wrigley Field for the NL Central crown before a sweep of the Rockies in the NL Division Series, then a date with the postseason-tested Dodgers in the NLCS.

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

The winning streak ended in Game 2 of the NLCS after Milwaukee had a three-run lead with nine outs to go, a result that tilted the series in Los Angeles' favor. Now the Dodgers are off to the World Series for the 20th time, tied with the Giants for the second most all time to the Yankees' 40.

The Brewers, including perhaps their highest-profile fan, will have to try again next year.

For Crew, Game 7 not an end but a beginning

"I'm sure not just for me personally, but for everybody here in Wisconsin, this is a big deal," said Hall of Famer Robin Yount an hour before the start of the second Game 7 in Brewers history. "We're not like some of the bigger franchises that experience this stuff a little more often.

"So when a team is this good and plays this well in the playoff atmosphere, we're all excited. I'm as excited as anybody."

Yount: First pitch feels 'like I'm at home'

Even Yount left the ballpark disappointed.

"The obvious is that it's disappointing," said Yelich, whose eyes welled as he talked about his remarkable and exhausting second-half push to become the NL MVP Award favorite. "But so many guys have gotten better. We can learn from this. It's something to be proud of. We accomplished a lot, especially down the stretch. Once this settles down, we can assess what we accomplished and use it as motivation for next year. Hopefully, this is just the beginning."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Yelich lines solo HR to open scoring

Said Ryan Braun: "This is certainly not the position that we hoped to be in. I think we entered the day really confident. They just beat us today."

There was early reason for excitement in Game 7. Yelich drove in his first run of the NLCS with a solo homer in the first inning, but it was another fly ball off his bat on which the game would pivot. Milwaukee trailed in the fifth, 2-1, and had already burned relief ace Josh Hader for three scoreless innings in the wake of a shaky Jhoulys Chacin when Lorenzo Cain doubled off L.A. starter Walker Buehler with two outs. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts popped out of the dugout to tap into his bullpen.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Hader fans 4 over 3 scoreless relief frames

If there exists a soft spot in Los Angeles' stout pitching staff, this may have been it. Buehler and his electric triple-digit-tickling fastball were out of the game, and Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers' best relievers were yet to come. Yelich drew 22-year-old lefty Julio Urias -- who was left off L.A.'s NLDS roster but was added for this round for just this kind of spot -- and he got a pitch to hit when Urias left an elevated 0-2 fastball within the bounds of the strike zone.

Yelich made solid contact and sent the baseball toward the gap in left-center. Taylor, who began the game at second base before moving to left in the third inning as Roberts once again aggressively employed his deep bench, took an adventurous route but found the right spot to make a running, sliding catch that ended the inning.

"You could feel the tension in the stands," Taylor said. "The stadium was going crazy, Julio facing the MVP and the tying run on second. It just all built up."

Video: NOCS Gm7: Taylor robs Yelich to save a run

"That's the thing, when there's one game, anything can happen," Yelich said. "Some things go your way, some things don't. They made the plays. They made the pitches when they had to to win. It's tough when it's one game that decides it. Credit to them, they played great and they won. I feel like we didn't really beat ourselves. They went out and they won the game."

That sucked some of the energy out of the crowd. Puig finished the job.

Cody Bellinger had given the Dodgers the lead with a two-run homer off Chacin in the second inning, but it was his speed legging out a potential double-play grounder in the sixth inning that allowed Puig to deliver the dagger. With two on and two outs against Jeremy Jeffress, who was every bit as good as Hader during the regular season but couldn't conjure the same results in October, Puig smashed a curveball -- it was actually low and away -- over the left-center-field wall for a three-run homer and a 5-1 lead.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Puig breaks it open with 3-run homer

Two of those runs were hung on Jeffress, who surrendered six earned runs in eight postseason innings. That matched the earned runs he allowed in his final 39 innings of the regular season dating all the way back to June 27.

"That's baseball, man," said Jeffress. "That was a good pitch for me. The whole series, I've been throwing good pitches. They've just been getting hit."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Jeffress reflects on Brewers' 2018 season

Did Jeffress run out of gas at the end?

"I don't have the perfect answer for you," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Tonight I thought both hits were on some breaking balls that just didn't have the good bite to them that they needed to have. This guy got outs better than anybody in the National League out of the bullpen this year. He was wonderful. And the playoffs did not go well for him."

Dodgers relievers had no such trouble, retiring 13 of the 14 Brewers batters they faced beginning with Urias' big out against Yelich. Milwaukee's only baserunner the rest of the way came on Orlando Arcia's two-out single in the seventh.

After Clayton Kershaw emerged from the bullpen and recorded the final three outs, Counsell left his club with a message to take into the offseason.

"This team, what I just told them is that they took us on an amazing journey," Counsell said. "They really did. They took us on an incredible journey that we should all be grateful for being able to see, because it was a magical run, especially in the month of September and into October. From Pittsburgh [in late September] on was absolutely incredible, how the team played and answered every tough situation they were in."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Brewers on postseason run, 2018 season

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A bunt and a blast: Chacin, the Brewers' best pitcher during the regular season, was not at his best in Game 7. Every Dodger besides Manny Machado resisted offering at Chacin's slider, and when he grooved a two-seam fastball to Bellinger that was supposed to be up and in, Bellinger blasted it to the right-field bleachers for a two-run homer and a lead for Los Angeles. The homer followed a surprise bunt single in a full count from Machado, who was booed loudly for the second straight night. It was the first full-count bunt hit in the Majors since Nori Aoki of the Royals on May 29, 2014.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger belts 2-run homer, scores Machado

"I think I quick-pitched him, so the only thing he could do was bunt there," said Chacin. "It was a perfect bunt. That's what I was most surprised of. Then I tried to get Bellinger to chase up, and the ball sunk down. He put a good swing on the ball.

"... I'm really proud of all of the guys here. Nobody believed we could make it here, and we just went one win away from the World Series. I'm excited for next year."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Chacin discusses tough Game 7 loss

Stranding Shaw: It was still 2-1 in the fourth when Travis Shaw's leadoff double against Buehler put the Brewers in business. But the Dodgers rookie never let Shaw budge from second base, striking out Jesus Aguilar (his breakthrough season ended with an 0-for-4, four-strikeout night) and Erik Kratz around a Mike Moustakas flyout. Milwaukee's only other runner in scoring position the rest of the night was Cain in the fifth.

Video: NCLS Gm7: Shaw doubles as Puig mistimes jump in 4th

"The bottom line is they pitched well and they didn't let us get anything going," Counsell said. "I talked before the game about multiple baserunners. We did get some leadoff guys on, but I don't know if there was an inning [after the second] where we had multiple baserunners on. We weren't able to put together rallies, multiple hits, and get things going. And credit to them for how they pitched tonight."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Buehler fans Kratz to escape trouble in 4th

SOUND SMART
Arcia's strong finish gave the Brewers hope for better things in 2019 for the slick-fielding shortstop. He became the 12th player to collect a hit in all seven games of an LCS. The last was the Giants' Marco Scutaro in 2012.

HE SAID IT
"Losing sucks. It hurts any time; it's not the 'stage of my career.' If we came up short in Game 163, it would have sucked. It doesn't suck any more or any less. I remember losing in the championship game in Little League just like I remember losing in Game 7 of the World Series. You learn from it and hopefully you become better, because if you don't become better, that means you became worse." -- Kratz

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jhoulys Chacin, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Christian Yelich

LA wins NL, setting up titanic WS with Red Sox

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Corey Seager's elbow blew out, and the Dodgers found a way. The entire starting rotation went on the disabled list, and they found a way. Kenley Jansen's heart raced, and they found a way. They even found a way to overcome a nine-game deficit in the National League West. And on Saturday, the Dodgers found their way back to the World Series.

Dress for Fall Classic: Get Dodgers NL champs gear

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MILWAUKEE -- Corey Seager's elbow blew out, and the Dodgers found a way. The entire starting rotation went on the disabled list, and they found a way. Kenley Jansen's heart raced, and they found a way. They even found a way to overcome a nine-game deficit in the National League West. And on Saturday, the Dodgers found their way back to the World Series.

Dress for Fall Classic: Get Dodgers NL champs gear

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:: NLCS schedule and results ::

With rookie starter Walker Buehler poised under pressure, NLCS MVP Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig launching crowd-silencing homers at Miller Park and Chris Taylor pulling off a miracle catch in left field, the Dodgers eliminated the Brewers in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, 5-1, and will play the Red Sox in the World Series starting Tuesday night in Boston.

"Every single person in this room has their fingerprints on this season," said Dave Roberts, who will be managing against his former Dodgers teammate, Boston's Alex Cora. "We haven't accomplished our goal yet. Four more wins. Let's go."

The Dodgers are going to back-to-back World Series for the first time since 1977-78, when they lost both times to the Yankees. They'll be trying for their first World Series win since 1988, which was clinched 30 years ago to the day, the same year they last won a Game 7 in the NLCS against the Mets. This one secured their 20th appearance in the Fall Classic, tying the Giants for the most in the NL.

"We found a way to get it done again," said Justin Turner. "You saw big swings from two guys [Bellinger and Puig] that didn't have the success this year they wanted. Walker Buehler gave us almost five innings, Ryan Madson is the unsung hero of the entire postseason and our bullpen was outstanding in a series when their bullpen got a lot of the press, a lot of attention. Our guys stepped up and got it done."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Dodgers on advancing to the World Series

The Dodgers' bullpen, outpitching a more celebrated Brewers bullpen, finished it off with 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Jansen struck out three of the four batters he faced, then handed the baton to Game 5 winner Clayton Kershaw, who struck out Mike Moustakas and was in the middle of the dogpile.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Kershaw on 9th inning, Dodgers' NLCS win

"Where we came from this year, it's a testament to these guys," said Kershaw. "It's a great group, we're excited, we're going to celebrate but we don't want to lose again, so we'll be ready to go."

Los Angeles' bullpen had a 1.45 ERA in the series.

Bullpen of the Week: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Jansen racks up 3 strikeouts in Game 7

"All the heavy punches we took all season about the bullpen, including myself, and here we are celebrating," said Jansen. "We win another National League championship and we're going to the World Series. It was harder from the start and feels so much sweeter than last year."

General manager Farhan Zaidi echoed Jansen's analysis.

"We really had our backs to the wall in this game," he said. "Easy wasn't really in our playbook, so it was fitting it took us until Game 7. It was more of a joyride last year."

Like everything else this season, though, the Game 7 victory was tougher than it looked. Milwaukee scored first on Christian Yelich's homer, his second extra-base hit and first RBI of the series, on a 98 mph Buehler fastball in the first inning. Teams scoring first in a winner-take-all Game 7 had been 36-19 and 11-5 in Game 7 of the LCS.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Yelich lines solo HR to open scoring

But Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin couldn't hold the lead for even a half-inning. Manny Machado, with boos echoing through Miller Park, shocked everybody by perfectly bunting a 3-2 hanging slider for a leadoff infield single in the second. Bellinger, batting .190 at the time, followed by crushing a two-run homer projected by Statcast™ at 425 feet for a 2-1 lead. Add that to the dazzling catch and walk-off hit to win the 13-inning Game 4 and Bellinger was named MVP.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger blasts a 2-run homer in the 2nd

Before the top of the second ended, Milwaukee started warming up its most lethal weapon, Josh Hader, and after the inning ended, Kershaw walked from the dugout to the Dodgers' bullpen. And the plot thickened. Hader entered to start the third inning. He put up three zeros for the second time in the series.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Hader fans 4 over 3 scoreless relief frames

But it was Taylor -- co-MVP of last year's NLCS -- who at least matched Bellinger's catch in Game 4 with a spectacularly circuitous, lunging, sliding, over-the-shoulder catch of what would have been a game-tying double by Yelich with two outs in the fifth inning, saving L.A. reliever Julio Urias, brought in specifically to retire Yelich.

"At that point in time, I thought the game was tied," said Roberts. "But C.T. gets a great break on the ball, and really a game-saving play."

"That was the catch of the year," said Bellinger, who held the title for three games.

Video: Must C Catch: Taylor ranges to make run-saving grab

Urias, pitching back to back for the first time in his life, also was pitching the day after the death of his grandmother, revealed to the team in the clubhouse by Enrique Hernandez before the champagne celebration began.

The catch should put Taylor right there with Bellinger and Brooklyn's Al Gionfriddo and Sandy Amoros for the most crucial defensive plays in Dodgers postseason history. Usually soft-spoken and mild-mannered, Taylor made, for him, a scene celebrating.

"You could feel the tension in the stands," he explained. "The stadium was going crazy, Julio facing the MVP and the tying run on second."

That set up the key blow in the sixth after Max Muncy and Turner singled and Bellinger beat out a double-play grounder, as Puig hit a three-run blast off Jeremy Jeffress, who called Turner "lucky" after his Game 2-winning homer off Jeffress. Puig was 3-for-4.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Puig breaks it open with 3-run homer

Buehler struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings. Madson followed Urias for five outs and was credited with the victory, Jansen came on with two outs in the seventh and Kershaw pitched the ninth, his first postseason relief outing since Game 7 of last year's World Series.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Madson K's 2 over 1 2/3, earns Game 7 win

"I think [World Series] Game 7 last year prepared us for Game 7 tonight," said catcher Austin Barnes. "If you make it bigger than it is, it works against you. I think we learned that last year. We executed."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Machado, who felt Chacin was quick-pitching him, effortlessly dropped a ridiculously perfect bunt single on a 3-2 pitch, which hadn't been done by anybody in any big league game since 2014. It silenced a crowd that had been raucously booing Machado and maybe it rattled Chacin, who served up the go-ahead home run to the next batter, Bellinger.

Machado has last laugh at Miller with 1st WS

Video: NLCS Gm7: Statcast™ measures Machado's speed on bunt

SOUND SMART
Puig is the third Cuban player to homer in a Game 7, joining Tony Perez (1975 World Series) and Bert Campaneris ('73 World Series).

Puig celebrated his HR with a crazy celebration

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
If Bellinger doesn't beat out the double-play grounder with one out in the sixth inning, Puig doesn't come up to slug the three-run homer. Statcast™ timed Bellinger's sprint speed from home to first at 30.5 feet per second (30.0 is considered elite).

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger prevents double play in the 6th

HE SAID IT
"Puig was right." -- Barnes, on his teammate's prediction on a World Series return

Video: Dodgers, Red Sox sizzle through postseason gauntlet

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Yasiel Puig

Taylor robs Crew of tying run with must-see grab

Roberts after Game 7 win: 'That certainly was a signature play'
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Chris Taylor had never played the outfield before last season, but the man sure can catch a fly ball. He started Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at second base, but he moved to left field in the third inning before making a momentum-killing catch on the warning track in left-center field to end the fifth on Saturday at Miller Park.

It might have been the defensive play of the series.

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MILWAUKEE -- Chris Taylor had never played the outfield before last season, but the man sure can catch a fly ball. He started Game 7 of the National League Championship Series at second base, but he moved to left field in the third inning before making a momentum-killing catch on the warning track in left-center field to end the fifth on Saturday at Miller Park.

It might have been the defensive play of the series.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NLCS schedule and results ::

"It was just a big moment," Taylor said after the 5-1 victory over the Brewers clinched the Dodgers' second consecutive trip to the World Series. "You can feel the tension in the stands. The stadium was going crazy. We brought [Julio Urias] in to face the [likely] MVP. The tying run was on second. It just all built up."

Dress for Fall Classic: Get Dodgers NL champs gear

After Milwaukee center fielder Lorenzo Cain hit a two-out double in the fifth with Los Angeles holding a 2-1 lead, left-hander Urias entered the game to face Christian Yelich. The Brewers' right fielder ripped an 0-2 fastball to deep left-center field. It looked like a sure-fire extra-base hit as the ball left Yelich's bat at 97.8 mph, especially after Taylor initially broke toward center field.

"I thought it was going to be further in the gap," Taylor said.

But Taylor corrected his route and threw up his glove at the last second, catching the ball as he fell onto the warning track.

"It kind of tailed a lot," Taylor said. "So my original route, I had to kind of banana back toward the wall. I was just glad I was able to make the adjustment to make the play."

"That certainly was a signature play," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Once the game is tied anything can happen. The momentum shifts."

Video: NLCS Gm7: Taylor, Bellinger, Roberts on Taylor's grab

Taylor needed to travel 81 feet to catch the ball, but he ran 85 feet as he adjusted from his initial break, according to Statcast™. Taylor said he also worried about Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger, which is why he never reached top speed. Taylor's sprint speed to the ball (27.1 feet per second) is nowhere near the 30.1 feet per second he reached in the outfield this season.

"I actually thought it was going to be Belly's ball," Taylor said. "It was right in between us; trying to get a feel where he was and whose ball it was going to be. It's so loud in there, calling for the ball does no good. Just trying to get a read on him and the ball at the same time."

Video: MLB Tonight discusses Taylor's key 5th-inning grab

Asked how plays like that come to him, Taylor said, "It's just one of those reaction plays, I think. Those are some of the tougher ones, a lefty hits one in the gap, it tails. You don't really know how much that ball is going to tail back. It's really just a reaction play."

And one that propelled L.A. to Boston for Game 1 of the World Series.

Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Taylor

Kershaw closes out NLCS G7 with 1-2-3 9th

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers have been conservative with their handling of Clayton Kershaw this postseason, more inclined to start him on extra rest than short rest. But with their season down to a single game, things were understandably different on Saturday night.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

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MILWAUKEE -- The Dodgers have been conservative with their handling of Clayton Kershaw this postseason, more inclined to start him on extra rest than short rest. But with their season down to a single game, things were understandably different on Saturday night.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 PT on FOX

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Manager Dave Roberts called on Kershaw to close out Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on two days' rest after an outstanding start in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. The Dodgers' ace delivered a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to secure the NL pennant with a 5-1 win and advance Los Angeles to the World Series against the Red Sox.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Kershaw seals Game 7 as Dodgers win pennant

"It doesn't matter how you get there," Kershaw said after the game. "But to get to go back after last year is unbelievable. Where we came from this year, it's a testament to these guys, man. It's a great group. We're excited, we're gonna celebrate tonight, but we don't want to lose again, so we'll be ready to go."

Dress for Fall Classic: Get Dodgers NL champs gear

Kershaw entered Saturday having made five career postseason relief appearances to go along with his 22 starts. He threw four innings without allowing a run in Game 7 of last year's World Series, also on two days' rest after a Game 5 start.

Matthew Leach is an editor for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw